tv [untitled] December 19, 2011 4:31pm-5:01pm PST
ur strength. one of the most distressing things about the disease model of mental illness in our culture, to have any periods of darkness or suffering is wrong, it means you're off the track. it means you need to be fixed, and i think there is a lot we can learn from spiritual paradigms that see that someone
who is truly trying to be awake in their life will go through suffering, because life is sad and difficult and hard. and as you get closer to knowing your heart, you find a lot of pain there and it doesn't mean you're messing up. it just means that you're really committed. this person fell out of the sky with a really similar life story to mine. i met sascha, because i had responded to a version of his life story that he had written and got published. and it was about his experiences with "madness," and wanting to live an authentic, adventurous life, and not crash and burn over and over, because of the fragile fire in his brain. i ended up sending him my whole life story and he showed me all these e-mails he had been getting from people all over the country.
we were so curious about, what would happen if all these people learned how to use their wings, so we didn't crash all the time? what would happen if we could somehow harness these powers and this vision, and make use of it in a sustainable way? how do they personally navigate the space between brilliance and madness? and so, he and i decided that there had to be a place for these people to read each other's stories and to know that they existed. and so, we thought we would start up a website. it became the icarus project and it had way more than just a few stories, it became an interactive forum for people to talk to each other, and just grew and mushroomed into this whole network of people all over the country. icarus was an ancient greek boy, mythologically, who was given the gift of wings made out of wax and feathers,
so that he could escape from a labyrinth. and despite multiple warnings, he overestimated his powers and flew too close to the sun, and his wings melted and he crashed into the ocean and drowned. and we saw this as a really powerful archetype for the way that many people who get labeled with mental illness in our society, have this dangerous gift of heightened sensitivity and vision, and creativity, and fragility. we had some vague idea that a key piece of recovering mental health had to do with building community. i was a kid who was a real survivor and thought i didn't need anybody else's help to get by. and letting go of that notion, letting go of that identity, and actually becoming interdependent with other human beings, is both one of the hardest things i've ever tried to do, but one of the most essential.
it takes a lot of faith to stay on the path of believing that harnessing it is in some way possible. it takes a lot of faith and perseverance to go through this path of loss and reclamation, and loss and reclamation, and loss and reclamation, and not give up. it seemed like the pieces of my life were completely irreconcilable. there were so many things i wanted to hold on to, and so many pieces of my existence that i wanted to give. there's a piece of art i made called, "training for the surface of the moon," it's a series of collages. i wanted to take every fragment of anything that was beautiful in my life and not forget it. and the act of sewing them together was a very literal way of trying to make things meet that didn't meet;
the beauty in them and the pain in them. something about the possibility for wholeness and the reality of destruction, and that these coexist at the same time. and this feeling that there is something more transcendent, something that smacks of grace. and most of my work has a real tension in it between forms and images that remind me of the grace of existence, whether it's seeds that are sprouting or roots that are going into the ground, or light, or circles, or sacred geometry. but things that, for me, involve small glimpses of hope and regeneration.
there are stages in the formation of our identity where it's extremely empowering to own the part of us that society marginalizes, and say there's nothing wrong with this part. and then i think there are also times when we can move beyond those definitions. i'm less and less identified as a mad person, or a liberated mad person. and i'm identified more as a person who is traumatized by her life experience, just like so many other people. i don't want to think that i carry around this thing, this madness... i think that i go through extreme states of consciousness. sometimes that journey can look to people
[music] paratransit is specialized transportation for seniors and people with disabilities who are unable to use the muni system. in san francisco, we're proud that we've had a paratransit program since 1978 long before it was mandated by the americans with disabilities act in 1990. san francisco is a unique city and our paratransit program reflects this.
we have a network of services, including sf access van service, paratransit taxi, including wheelchair accessible ramp taxi and group van which serves groups of individuals going to a single location like a senior center. [music] >> i'm elsa scott and i'm a retired federal employee and i'm a native of san francisco. i use paratransit because, i've been using it for about six years because six years ago i had to start dialysis treatments at cpmc. so i'm very dependent on paratransit three times a week, coming and going.. my current driver is brian berquist.; he's just such a friendly, sort of a teddy bear kind of a guy. i don't know what it is about brian, but all of us old ladies want to feed brian.
[music] >> hi, my name is fred lein. i'm most proud of driving a ramp taxi since the beginning of the program in 1994. [music] >> fred, you are the absolute best! thank you fred for providing transportation for me and opening up my social life, and taking care of medical appointments, taking care of my mother [music] >> hi, my name is ann bailey and i've driven for luxor for almost five years now.
i drove for desoto cab for 10 years prior to that. i drove in 1976 for the old, old yellow cab. this is frances mecchi and i've been driving her for about 11 or 12 years to her alzheimer's day program, which we call the memory club. every day when we drive through the presidio she'll say, "oh goody, you're taking me through the enchanted forest." [music] >> my name amr a.mahmoud. i am like 49 years old. i have been driving cab more than 13 year in general. then i drove a ramp more than 3
years. this is my fourth now. i have been enjoying doing the job. i like every moment of it. >> thank you amr. [music} >> hi, my name is peter and i'm a paratransit driver for medsam, and this is north and south of market where i pick up my group and drop them off at home. >> thank you , peter! [singing] you are my sunshine. very good driver. she says driver is very good. number 1. [music]
larry mingo, mobility plus driver, san francisco paratransit. >> thank you, mingo. >> you're welcome. >> hi, mingo. >> thank you, mingo. >> thank you, mingo. thank you. [music] >> thank you, larry mingo. >> hey larry mingo, you are awesome. thanks for a great, great job you do for us. appreciate it. >> thank you, mingo. [music] >> hello, my name is james fells i've been working with paratransit for 13 years now. i get a kick out of the job; i like helping people you know when they need help to go shopping or getting picked up at the medical building. i really like helping people and
that's why i've been working so long. >> hi, my name is kalani. i'm a driver with mobility plus. i love my job! and i've been working, i've been a driver since may and i'm pretty satisfied with the company. so, two thumbs up, hope you guys have a nice day. >> sandra johnson and i've been working for mobility plus for about 4 and a half years. i love it. this is my job and i love it. it's very rewarding for me. one of my proudest moments is one of my clients left his cane on the bus and i've been picking him up now for about three years so i know that that cane was important to him. and i had dropped him off and i noticed the cane later on that day so i kept it with me and when i went back down to la play, when i worked my way back down there on a break to give it to him, he kissed my hand,
'cuz he can't talk. so he grabbed my hand and he kissed my hand. it just made me know that that was an important thing for him. so that was my proudest moment. [music] >> one couple who were riding with us, morning and afternoon, mr. and mrs. lee. mr. lee was the dialysis patient and he's probably in his 80's and every time we would drive up to buchanan street, the hospital, mr. lee would say, "good job, fine driver, number one driver" and he would go like this [thumbs up gesture]. and then as brian would be helping him off the van, mr. lee, i heard him so often say, "brian, if anybody gives you any trouble you send them to me and i'll take care of them." and here great big old brian would say, "henry, you're the first one i would try to get help from." and he says, "the second one is elsa." [laugh] so we knew that we were being relied on by brian.
a few weeks back, mrs. lee called brian early in the morning to tell him not to bother picking them up because they were already at the hospital. mr. lee was ill and she had taken him to the er. the next day or so, brian, on his lunchtime, found out that mr. lee had been admitted to the hospital and he went up to mr. lee's room and just stuck his head in just to say hello. and the minute mr. lee saw him he went [gesture thumb up in the air] like that. and mrs. lee said, "he's telling you again you're number one driver. so brian really appreciated that; he thought that was really sweet. but he could see mr. lee wasn't doing so well so he left really quickly. and unfortunately, mr. lee passed away that evening. that had a great impact on brian and me. it was very sad, but it was so touching that he had seen mr.
lee and mr. lee had confirmed that brian was "number one driver." >> this is san francisco paratransit. it's not perfect; we have our ups and downs: late trips, frustrated customers, stressed out drivers. but at our best, we get our riders where they need to go on time and with a smile. and when we pay attention real carefully and notice what's happening on the van, taxi, or at the senior center, we notice that our drivers make a difference in the rider's lives and the riders make a difference in the drivers lives.
[applause] welcome, everybody. once again, i have the honor of being your master of ceremonies for the annual lighting of the snowflakes on market street. great event. i love being part of it. good to have you with us. i should point out that we just saw a spectacular light show under the dome over west field center. you probably have not seen it because we are the first to see it. you should get over there and see it during your holiday shopping. tonight, we have the dancing snowflakes from the san francisco ballet school. they are currently preparing for the annual performances of the "nutcracker" at the san francisco opera house. here's something you may or may not know -- san francisco was the first city in the country to premiere the "nutcracker" in 1944. the san francisco ballet is america's first professional ballet company. how about that? [applause] in a few minutes, we will have the snowflake lighting, but
first, i want to bring up to say a few words someone who has been instrumental in putting this event together. he is the director of the department of public works here in san francisco. [applause] >> thank you all for coming out. we are very happy to join all the businesses along with all the other city agencies to continue to improve and improve the quality of market street. four years in a row, we have been adding a few blocks in a time, and step-by-step, we will get all the way to the castro. i am very happy for this event, and i look forward to all the lights coming on. happy holidays. >> don't you love short speeches? i did the best? another instrumental person in putting this together is the public facilities commissioner. >> thank you. this will be short also. we do the street lights in san
francisco. it is wonderful to join downtown and like the street up and be part of the community. it is great. hetch hetchy green power lighting up the street. have a wonderful holiday. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. now, joining us i think for the first time for this event is mayor ed lee. mayor lee: thank you. i will be short, too, because i am. happy holidays, everybody. i want to especially thank these beautiful snowflakes. aren't they wonderful? i wanted to be on time because i know i have a lot more closing than they do. i wanted that iqbal dpw and our puc director -- i wanted to thank our dpw and puc directors. we have increased this netflix by an additional 20.
there's a total of 162 snowflakes on our wonderful market street. we have some 81 leptos that are covered. we're going to continue expanding this every year we get more participation. i want to especially thank market street as well. we also want to signal that we are seeing changes along our market street happened. this is a commitment that i have made. not only the campaign, well before running for this mayor ship, i was proud to participate in all the changes the former mayor did to signal that we want our businesses here on market street as well. you are going to see in the next few months twitter. you're going to see zendesk. you are going to see burning man come aboard. the companies we have asked not only to start here but to stay and grow. all these wonderful companies
creating fantastic jobs will join the events we have all along our great market street. you will see united nations plaza with its wonderful market parts -- arts festival starting out through mid december and there will be joined by so many events. i want to thank everyone for coming tonight. spencer, with that, are we ready? are we ready for a count of? >> i think we are ready. we want all of you for joining us. i want to thank the participants once more because once we do the countdown, you may not be able to see them. thank you very much. we are going to start the countdown. are you ready to join us? >> 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 >> like the snowflakes -- light